Well.. it started as a review of the Review of the XMF3E Frsky Brushed Flight Controller

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Well.. it started as a review of the Review of the XMF3E Frsky Brushed Flight Controller

Post by Rob Thomson » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:36 pm

The Frsky XMF3E is Frsky’s entry into the world of tiny whoop flight controllers. There are a number of superb flight controllers for the frsky protocol – all of them using the hacked D8 protocol; so I was excited to be giving the opportunity to try the new XMF3E. Frsky are clearly wanting a slice of the action.
A big thanks to Bang Good for providing me the sample for reviewing.
This review is written by Rob Thomson from openrcforums.com

Unboxing
Whats in the box:
inthebox.jpg
Not much. A flight controller, a few cables and some rather suprising micro jst sockets and adapters? (more on this soon). Apart from that it looks much like any TinyWhoop flight controller.

Product Specification & Overview
  • Brand Name: Frsky
    Dimension: 29x29x6mm (L x W x H)
    Weight: 3.4g
    Hardware: STM32F303 CPU (72Mhz inc FPU),MPU9250 (accelerometer/gyro/compass),CC2510 CPU for XM receiver
    Channels: 16CH (8CH is RSSI) by SBUS to UART2 RX of F3EVO
    Operating voltage/current: 4.2V@75mA
    Compatibility: Frsky Taranis X9D/X9E/Q X7/Horus X12S/XJT in D16 mode
    Firmware Upgradeable
Features:
  • -Built-in F3EVO and XM receiver module
    -Features the latest Accelerometer, Gyro and Compass and Baro sensor technology.
    -XM receiver is a one-way receiver (no telemetry), it will receive the commands of Remote Control and send to F3EVO by SBUS (8CH is RSSI) to UART2 RX of F3EVO
Where to get one?
http://www.banggood.com/Frsky-XMF3E-Bui ... =hehuishan

My plan is to put together a tiny whoop style quad using a bunch of parts from bang good – with this flight controller at the centre of the unit.

PROBLEMS PROBLEMS PROBLEMS
When you do a review of a product you dread the thought of having problems. Ideally the review should go well. Plain sailing. Unfortunately I have very little good to say about the XMF3E. It as been a problem from the offset. I cant help but feel that FrSKY have completely missed the boat on this one. They have tried to play catch-up and failed.

Three very major issues have occurred when setting up the controller. Let me outline these below:
  • USB PORT
    MOTOR POSITIONS VS FLIGHT DIRECTION ARROW
    BINDING

USB PORT
I have no idea why but for some reason frsky have not put a USB jack on the flight controller. They have made allowance by providing a small socket and a ‘jack’ to plug in to the socket. It is then up to you to solder this up and make it all work.

What?

Now. Most ‘whoppers’ are beginners. They do not have much soldering experience – and you have now presented them with 4 pins that have to be micro soldered on the board. It is difficult to do this without experience and a good magnifying glass; so I am not sure how a noob will achieve this. To compound the issue – they have not actually provided you with a complete USB cable. To get USB to work I had to cut open a spare cable from my box of bits and solder it all up. Granted this is not a difficult job. But it is a job that should not need to be done.
microusb.jpg
You can see in the picture above where I have had to solder on the socket on the left of the board. It is not possible to place this on the other side of the board as it will conflict with the motor sockets.

MOTOR POSITIONS VS FLIGHT DIRECTION ARROW

This is another MAJOR issue. It seems that frksy have failed to look at what frames people are installing the flight controller in. Namely.. the E010 or E010S style tinyhoop frame.

The issue here is that the motor sockets are positioned in the wrong locations in relation to the forward flight direction of the flight controller.
forwardflight.jpg
When you insert the flight controller into the frame for forward flight – you imeadately realise that the sockets collide with the screw holes. You can cut the strut and screw hole off the frame – but you will then find that you loose the ability to swap out motors that die without completely disassembling the frame.

The solution here is to tell beta flight that you are running at 90 degrees offset. But this is a fudge – and means that your motor jacks are not in the right positions for the location of the motors.

I was honestly shocked to find this to be the case. I have in-fact wondered if frsky have even built a whoop with the controller themselves?

BINDING
Binding this unit to my radio has been extremely problematic. I have as of this point still not succeeded.

Looking at the documentation it would lead me to believe that I need D16 mode on the radio. No-matter what I do this has never worked. Being the logical type I then decided that maybe I am dealing with an EU/LBT compatability issue on the receiver.

Another half hour spent soldering up wires to the pads and I reflashed with the correct receiver firmware to match my radiol. Still no joy!

Nothing will make this unit bind – and I am now of the opinion that I have a dud.

WHAT NEXT?
I have given up on the XMF3E. It is in my opinion garbage.

As I had all the bits for a whoop already – but a dud flight controller – I acquired an ‘bee core f3’ whoop controller from bang good. What a difference.

The Beecore is 100% better. The motor sockets are in the right positions. The receiver binds instantly in D8 mode.. and out the box you get provided a USB socket and suitable cable to connect it to your pc.

All this makes for a good experience – with my total whoop build once converting to the bee core taking about 30 minutes.

THE BUILD
For the final build of my whoop I used a number of off-shelf components from bang good. Plus a couple of other bits that I sourced elsewhere.

To build you own based on my setup you would need:

Flight Controller
Beecore F3 Evo Brushed Controller
I am very happy with the Beecore flight controller. It installed easily and has given me no problems at all. Flight range is good from the integrated frsky receiver; and overall flight control just fantastic!

Camera
Super Mini AIO 25mw 5.8 Camera
This is a VM275T based camera. FANTASTIC! In my opinion the for a cmos micro camera you do not get much better! It is really light. Easy to setup and picture quality is fantastic.

Motors
Racestar 615 59000RPM
I would not personally fly a whoop with less than these 59000RPM motors. The 'punch' they give is fantastic. I now have three whoops - and all of them use these motors.

Propeller
E010 Propellers
What can I say. They are propellers. They do the job :-)

Frame
E010 Frame
The E010 frame is a standard whoop frame used by many. Its well thought out and provides overall good performance. Recently bang good have started selling the E010s frame that is 2g lighter. Moving forward I imagine the E010s frame is the best way to go - 2g difference is significant at this small size.

To complete my frame I decided to use a mullet mod from the makerfire range of micro quads.

I ordered this from drone junkes in the UK.

Markerfire Mullet Mod
I chose this mount primarily because I like the look of it. Its functional and keeps the electronics protected. There are many options of camera mounts avaliable - some 3d printed - some even out of nice allow material!


Conclusion
I am extremely happy with how my whoop came out in the end.

As you can see in this video it flies rather well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za_pMTW ... e=youtu.be

I am however very very disappointed with the XMF3E. It is a poorly thought out product and I would recommend that anybody building a whoop consider something like the beecore I used instead.
Slope Soaring, FPV, and pretty much anything 'high tech'
...........if you think it should be in the wiki.. ask me for wiki access, then go add it!

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Kilrah
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Re: Well.. it started as a review of the Review of the XMF3E Frsky Brushed Flight Controller

Post by Kilrah » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:40 pm

I don't think they had any intention to target it especially to the tiny whoop market like the beecore but more as a generic brushed controller for custom builds, so the motor connection problems when mounting on a TW are probably not relevant in this case. Still a missed opportunity and the USB mess is stupid indeed...

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Rob Thomson
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Re: Well.. it started as a review of the Review of the XMF3E Frsky Brushed Flight Controller

Post by Rob Thomson » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:49 pm

Maybe that is the case... But when your pcb form factor is the same as the tinywhoop one.. What else is the plan?

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Slope Soaring, FPV, and pretty much anything 'high tech'
...........if you think it should be in the wiki.. ask me for wiki access, then go add it!

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